2) Choosing the wrong types of offers can make a big difference to your site’s income, so it’s worth getting it right at the start.
The best types of offers to promote on a niche site are:
3) Two ways to research the best Amazon affiliate products are:
4) The best way to research Clickbank affiliate products is by using the “Advanced search” function in Clickbank’s Marketplace.
5) Creating an information product can be the most lucrative option for your niche site
At this stage of the niche-finding process, you’ve done the following:
So you’ve found the demand in the niche – what people are looking for.
Now you need to figure out the best supply. What can you provide to your niche audience to satisfy their needs?
It’s worth taking a little time to think about this, because the offers you choose to provide to your audience can make a big difference in how much money you make.
There are two steps to do this:
This is a step that a lot of new online entrepreneurs seem to trivialize, especially if they’re focused on affiliate marketing.
Big mistake. Here’s why…
You might think that the offers you promote on your niche site isn’t that big a deal…
Just slap up some affiliate products and call it a day, right?
For a simple reason: if what you’re offering on your site is not a close fit with the needs of your audience, they won’t buy what you’re selling.
Let me show with an example from my own business…
In my case study on selling two sites in 2018, I describe how adding a few Amazon affiliate links to existing pages instantly increased that site’s earnings:
All I did to earn more money was add affiliate links to pages that were already published and getting organic traffic.
It literally took a couple of minutes to research relevant Amazon products and add affiliate links for those products to the articles.
Before I did that, those articles were monetized with Adsense ads – because the articles were informational (in other words, not product reviews or a round-up of the “best” products). So it didn’t even occur to me that I could monetize those pages with anything else but ads.
Here’s another example:
The other site I sold in 2018 was focused on government grants for homeowners. The site pulled together information on grants that was scattered across dozens of government websites.
A valuable resource for homeowners!
And homeowners have lots of money to spend, right? That site was monetized with Adsense ads, so I spent some time trying to figure out other types of offers that I could promote on the site.
I ended up with two new types of offers:
I promoted those two new types of offers like crazy – through my email autoresponder and with new content on the site.
The end result? Not much. I hardly made any money from those offers, despite trying for months.
I did end up scaling the site’s income, but I did so by switching to a better ads provider (Ezoic). Here’s what happened when I did that:
Why didn’t the Amazon affiliate products and ebook work? I can’t say with certainty, but I do have a strong assumption, based on email correspondence with some of the site’s readers…
It turns out that the majority of my active readers were retired, low-income seniors – so they didn’t have much money. Which is why they weren’t buying my ebook or Amazon product offers.
And which also explains why the clickthrough rate on my site’s ads was relatively high. The site’s audience was looking for anything that was FREE – and they’d click on an ad, because that didn’t cost them any money!
So what types of offers should you consider for your niche site? Let’s go through the options…
There are a ton of ways to monetize a niche site (Empire Flippers has a good round-up and a solid ebook on the main online business models).
In this section I’ll cover the types of offers I think are the best, many of which I’ve used on my own sites. Here's a brief description of each one::
You might have heard of this website called “Amazon”? It’s pretty popular these days.
Amazon also has the largest affiliate program in the world, apparently. That’s because people buy lots of physical products online, and they buy many of them from Amazon.
What types of physical products? Everything you could imagine. Just take a look at Amazon’s directory and you’ll see everything from headphones to mattresses to lawn mowers selling like hotcakes.
Promoting Amazon products is one of the easiest ways to make money online, and it’s a great complement (if not primary monetization method) for many niches.
But there are a ton of other affiliate networks for physical products, ranging from musical instruments to pet supplies.
Some other big affiliate networks for physical products are:
An information product can be an ebook, instructional video, audio interview, template – basically anything that conveys information for the purpose of educating.
Whether someone else’s product or your own, selling information can be extremely lucrative, because an info product can cost very little to create, and the cost of selling an additional unit is zero (unlike a physical product, where you incur a cost to produce each additional unit).
Two of the biggest affiliate networks for information products are:
This is a massive (and massively growing) opportunity for online entrepreneurs who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and creating their own shippable product.
This is especially the case with an Amazon program called Fulfillment by Amazon. With that program, you have a “storefront” on Amazon, and Amazon stores and ships your products. All you have to do is get the products manufactured and sent to Amazon’s warehouses.
Besides Amazon FBA, another popular online business model for physical products is dropshipping, which involves shipping your products directly from the factory that manufactures them.
Keep in mind, too, that information products can be physical. I sell a print version of several niche info products, and I’ve found that adding a print version does not cannibalize sales of the digital version – it just increases overall sales (presumably because some people who buy the print version wouldn’t buy a digital version if that was the only option).
Your own info product can quickly skyrocket your income.
I know, because I’ve created and sold dozens of different info products in markets ranging from sleep disorders to government grants to goat farming (yes, really).
If you’re in a niche in which people can solve their problems through knowledge/education, you might be able to provide them with that knowledge via an info product.
I go a little deeper into info products at the end of this module.
P.S. You might notice that I've included the Clickbank logo for two types of information products - affiliate products and your own products. That's because, as far as I know, it's the best way to access and promote both types of info products.
Ads are the way many niche site entrepreneurs got (and currently get) their start.
They’re dead-easy to implement - just add a few lines of code to your site and you’re making money.
I made money for years with only Adsense across multiple sites, and still make a little (although I’ve shifted to Amazon affiliate products and info products, because the EPV – earnings per visitor – tend to be higher).
If you want to learn from THE master of making money from ads, you need to check out Jon Dykstra’s FatStacksBlog. Lots of great content there.
Apparently, there are niche-specific ad networks, but I’ve never worked with any. I’ve worked with two of the following ad networks:
Lead generation is when your site generates a “lead” for a business.
This typically happens when a person clicks a link on your site, is taken to a web form/application on a business’s site, and then fills in that web form/application.
You get paid when that form/application is submitted on the business’s site. Forms range from the simple (i.e. an email submit) to the more complex (i.e. a long application for a car loan or mortgage). The more complex the form, the higher your commission when a person completes and submits the form.
Some of the most popular and lucrative lead generation niches are insurance companies, legal services, and colleges. There’s also the local lead gen market, including local services like plumbers, electricians, etc.
If you’ll be closely associating yourself with your niche site (some people choose to use a “persona” instead), one of the quickest ways to start making money is to offer services to your site visitors.
In fact, some successful affiliate marketers started making money online not through affiliate marketing, but by first offering SEO services to businesses in their local area. Daryl Rosser has interviewed many such people.
Some services you can include on your niche site include:
So that wraps up some of the best types of offers you can promote.
But how do you know which types of offers are best for your specific niche? Let’s get into that…
Once you understand the problems of your niche, you need to find solutions to those problems that are as close a fit as possible...
Because if you can offer a solution (a product or service) that nails a niche audience’s problems, you won’t need to “sell” - all you’ll need to do is put that offer in front of them and they’ll buy.
Brief Digression: Don't Be a "Salesman" - Be a Marketer
I sometimes get into debates over the importance of “sales vs marketing” in a business.
To me, “sales” is a nice word for trying to shove products down people’s throat - products that they don’t want. If someone can “sell ice to an Eskimo”, I say that person is a con artist, not a great salesman.
The following two quotes, from legendary business academics Peter Drucker and Theodore Levitt, sum up my perspective:
The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.
The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic.
Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer.
Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.
--- from the classic Harvard Business Review article Marketing Myopia
Bottom line: if you get the marketing right (starting with, especially, excellent research into the needs of your target audience), you don't need to sell.
Now I’ll get into how to use research (marketing, not sales!) to figure out what to offer your audience…
Figuring out what to offer your audience is much easier when you have a good grasp of what their needs are.
And if you’ve gone through the process of creating a topics map for your niche, you should already have that good grasp.
Your next step will be to take the low-competition keywords from your topics map and match those keywords with the most appropriate type of offer.
This should be obvious from the wording of each keyword.
Here’s an example from the “dog exercises” niche that I’ve been using for this guide:
These are all very low-competition keywords – some keywords only have one web page in Google’s index with the keyword in the page title! They’d be very easy to quickly rank for.
As you can see, the keywords are also very solution-oriented:
The bottom line is this – you want to provide offers on your site that are:
A close match with your audience’s needs
As profitable as possible for you
If you’re overwhelmed with the number of “moving parts” involved in making money online, you might want to keep things simple at the beginning…
Which means focusing on one simple online business model (affiliate marketing + organic traffic) and choosing one affiliate program to start with.
With your topics map in hand, you’re in a good position to find the best products to promote in your articles. Let me show you how to find those best products…
There are two methods I use to find the best products on Amazon to promote as an affiliate. One method is free, the other method uses a paid tool:
Any decent paid tool (like Viral Launch) is going to give you more actionable information than a free method like using Amazon’s directory.
So if you’re serious about building and scaling niche sites that are monetized with Amazon offers, you might want to budget for a paid too.
This method is as straightforward as it seems: browse through Amazon to find the best products.
But what does “best” mean? Let’s go through the steps to find out…
(For this example, I’ll be trying to find products that match the keywords from my topics map, e.g. “best food to feed a dog with liver problems”; “best dog food for malabsorption”; etc.)
Go to the Amazon Departments page
Click on the “Department” that best matches your niche. I want to find products related to dogs, so I’ll click on “Dogs” in the “Pet supplies” section:
When you’re in the “Dogs” section, there are two ways you can search:
When I typed a variation of my keyword into the search box (“dog food liver problems”), this is what I got:
You can see that the search results page displayed one product that is specifically for liver problems in dogs.
The only problem with that product is it has no reviews. I only promote Amazon products that have a good number of reviews (50 is typically the minimum) with an average of at least four stars.
The good news is that there are other products that have a good number of 4+ star ratings – but those products don’t say in their product title that they specifically help with liver problems.
So I’ll have to click on each product title, go to the product page, and read the description for each product, to see if they specifically help liver problems.
Now let’s check out my favorite paid tool for Amazon product research…
Viral Launch is an online suite of competitive intelligence tools for Amazon sellers.
While Viral Launch targets Amazon sellers, it’s also an excellent tool for Amazon affiliates to quickly find high-quality Amazon products to promote.
Here’s how to use Viral Launch to find Amazon affiliate products:
Once you’re logged into Viral Launch, in the left menu click on Product Discovery > Search. You’ll be taken to this screen:
For finding the best affiliate products to promote, the most effective method is the Keyword search.
So click on the word “Keyword” at the top of the page to be taken to the Keyword search screen.
Under “Keyword Contains”, enter your search term.
Keep in mind: if you type in a very specific keyword, Viral Launch won’t retrieve any results. When I entered the same keyword that I searched on Amazon (“dog food liver problems”), Viral Launch said “Your search criteria is too narrow”:
But here’s the thing: I’ve tried other Amazon seller tools (like Jungle Scout) to try to find a tool that allows very specific keyword searches but haven’t been able to find one.
Make sure to enter a broad search term. So instead of “dog food liver problems”, I’ll just go with “dog food”. Here’s what I found:
I’ve sorted the results by “Avg Revenue”, which is the average monthly revenue going back 12 months.
You can see that Viral Launch is grouping product data related to keywords that people are typing into the Amazon search bar (Viral Launch also has a keyword?? research tool for Amazon).
There are some interesting things to note about the keywords alone:
Regardless, here’s the next step to find the best products for your keyword/topic:
Scan the results and click the “Market Intelligence” icon for the Keyword Search Term that is closest to your topic.
When I scanned a little further down I came across the result “All Natural Dog Food”. That looked like a decent match for liver problems, so I clicked on the Market Intelligence icon and this is what I got:
There’s some really useful data here:
Based on just a quick glance at that screenshot, I’d definitely take a closer look at the third product (Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food), because it’s been listed for a long time, has a solid average rating (4.3 stars), and has a relatively high price (which means higher affiliate commission).
There’s obviously a lot more filtering you can do using the Product Discovery tool (which is especially helpful when you’re trying to find list of products for “best” articles), but I’ll save that for another tutorial.
So that’s the quick-and-dirty on how to find Amazon products to promote as an affiliate. Let’s move on to Clickbank…
Clickbank has been around forever, and their Marketplace shows it – the Marketplace page looks like it was designed in the 1990s and stayed there.
But it’s also one of the best ways to find good info products to promote.
Here’s how to use the Clickbank Marketplace to find info products that you can promote as an affiliate:
Once you’re on the Marketplace page, click on the little (very little) “Advanced Search” link at the top-right of the page:
The Advanced Search page allows you to filter for a bunch of criteria, but to keep the search broad (while also relevant) I focus on just a few:
High gravity does not mean a Clickbank product is good or worth promoting. It simply means that a bunch of affiliates are promoting the product and making sales.
I’ve been a Clickbank vendor for ten years and none of my products have had a gravity higher than 12 – even though I’ve sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of those products.
(Keep in mind Clickbank’s definition of “gravity”: the number of distinct affiliates who have made at least one sale in the past 90 days.)
So use this rule of thumb when looking at the gravity of a Clickbank product: the product should have some gravity (I use 5 as a minimum), but more important is:
A. How closely the product fits the needs of your audience; and
B. The quality of the product
The latter is admittedly difficult to determine without buying the product, which is something you should consider doing.
Here are the criteria I entered:
And here’s the page of results I got:
A couple things to note here:
The next step is to look at the sales page for each product – basically, to do a “gut check” to confirm that the product doesn’t look scammy.
I would then buy each product (through my affiliate link) in order to do a proper product review.
If you do the same search yourself, you’ll see that the search function returns 7 results, but only 4 of the products have to do with dogs, which again shows you how crappy the Marketplace’s search function is.
(Or maybe not. The title of one of the other three products is “Secrets Men Don’t Want Women to Know”. I wonder if the search function included that product because men are dogs.)
That wraps up my quick overview of how to find Amazon and Clickbank affiliate products. There’s a ton more I could write on how to monetize a niche site, but I’ll finish with the most lucrative method…
One of the absolute best ways to make money online is to create your own info product.
What’s an info product? Here’s my definition:
An information product consists of structured knowledge that is meant to educate the customer in order to solve their problem(s).
Let me emphasize three key parts of that definition:
There are a crapload of reasons why your own info products are an awesome way to monetize your niche site:
Without a doubt, info products are one of the best, most-lucrative types of product that you can promote.
Choosing the right types of offers and the best products to promote on your niche site can make a huge difference in earnings.
In this section I showed you what a big difference the right type of offer made to two of my own sites. We also covered how to match needs to offers, and I showed you how to find the best Amazon and Clickbank products to promote.
Finally, we discussed the many benefits of creating your own info product.
I've been making money online since 2009 and have a passion for research. My focus is niche research: finding profitable niches, keyword research, and competition analysis, as well as creating outstanding content.
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